West Wilts Ringing Group July 2021 Results

July 2021 has been dreadful – not for everybody, and certainly not for Jonny Cooper, with the receipt of his A-permit, making him now a fully-fledged, independent ringer, but it certainly has been poor for me and my sites in the Braydon Forest and at Lower Moor Farm.  For the first time I can remember, I abandoned 2 sessions, after 3 hours each with 2 and 3 birds at Ravensroost Woods and Meadows respectively, and finished it with just 7 at Webb’s Wood on Saturday.  I ended the month with just 59 birds ringed and 26 retrapped (which includes 4 Barn Owl chicks and 2 Stock Doves chicks ringed earlier in the month and still in the nest boxes, so they don’t really count) from 21 species.  Compared to Covid-constrained activity last year, when I still managed 240 ringed and 24 retrapped from 31 species, it really is a poor return. 

To be fair, July of last year was our best ever performance in that month, by over 300 birds from the next best (in 2015) and only 100 d0wn on 2019. The weather didn’t help, with too many wet and windy days, and then nearly a week of cripplingly high temperatures, during which I banned my team from doing any ringing, to avoid heatstroke for them and heat stress for the birds.  Others also clearly had better catches than me but we still processed nearly 10 birds fewer per session compared with 2020.

Comparison July 21 to July 20

The difference in the species catches is clear to see from the table: the numbers ringed almost across the board were down. In fact, of those species where we ringed more than a token few, the only species to show a clear increase in numbers ringed was Starling, the only one to show a comparable figure with last year was Great Tit, the rest, resident or summer visitor, were well down.  Looking for positives, 45 species ringed this month, compared to 39 last year. 

The most measurable fall for me was in my Lower Moor Farm CES. 2019 was the last time I was able to carry it out, as Covid prevented me accessing the majority of my rides in 202. These are the comparisons:

CES Comparison July 2019 to July 2021

Looking forward to August and hoping that it is an improvement both on July and on last August.

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